DON'T INSULT US
I had to read the review of The Mousetrap [Performing Arts, Dec. 19: "Three Blind Mice, One Blind Audience"] several times to even understand what the reviewer even had to say about it. The review was to say, at the least, confusing. It was also completely insulting.
By all means, tell me a play is poorly written, poorly directed, poorly acted, poorly built or poorly anything for that matter, and we may agree or disagree, but to say, "Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap is quite appropriate for a feckless theater-going audience" is to say that just because one doesn't like a play, a play wasn't worth writing or seeing.
If I may, let me quote the review a time or two.
"Those bloody redcoats across the pond have been intrigued with this particular drama for more than 50 years, though why remains a mystery."
Amazing how you can insult an entire country's theatre-going audience and be completely racist at the same time.
"The most challenging aspect of the Santa Fe Playhouse's production is having all eight actors prove they are not working on their worst English accent."
By all means, please indulge us with your best. Personally, this theatre-goer found the dialect quite nice.
Next, the reviewer goes into what could be a review of the characters, or the actors playing the characters. If saying things like, "Mrs. Boyle (Virginia Hall-Smith) is an old bag; thank God she gets killed at the end of the first act" is meant to be a character review, I agree completely. Boyle IS a terrible old hag and Hall-Smith plays the part beautifully, making the theatre-goer hate the character and not the actor.
Finally, "It is a good production for people who don't want to think about their art and who could care less about dropping $15 for a night in which the only sense of a mousetrap is the audience member who subjects himself to the rest of the play" insults me personally as one who saw the play and enjoyed it very much.
For one, this theatre-goer thinks the Santa Fe Playhouse did an excellent job of staging this Christie masterpiece, encourages all "who don't want to think about their art and who could care less about dropping $15" to go see this fantastic production and hopes to see more good theater on De Vargas Street.
I think I will see The Mousetrap this weekend, just to spite the author of that snotty review. His premise seems to be pure alt-weekly: If it ran for 50 years, it couldn't be any good. And the final bit of poor language usage (…"could care less"…) knocks out whatever credibility might have been in the review.
There are some finely tuned aesthetes who probably just shouldn't attend-or review-local theater.
UPDATE: I did see it, and enjoyed it very much. It's just about sold out anyhow, and they've added an extra weekend (Jan. 3-6)! So there!
I sincerely question your decision to give Angelo Jaramillo the assignment of reviewing The Seagull, performed recently at the College of Santa Fe [Performing Arts, Dec. 12: "The Origin of Penis Envy"]. It is extremely irresponsible of him to advise his readers to go see-what was, in this viewer's opinion, a beautifully wrought, sensitively performed play-"for the laughs." Such advise was not only irresponsible, but it was potentially harmful to the young actors whom, he further advised, "should retire early from theater and try film." (I would advise Mr. Jaramillo to retire early from serious reviewing and try gonzo journalism-at which he already seems quite adept.)
Mr. Jaramillo thoroughly misreads the aims of a fine college drama department. For a starter, let him read the interview with Miss Davidson, the play's director, which appeared in The New Mexican, Nov. 16-22, 2007. There he will see the concerns of a fine teacher in exposing her neophyte actors to the challenge of interpreting a major 19th century artwork for a 21st century audience, concerns that Mr. J ran roughshod over.
Doesn't Mr. J have the vaguest idea of how a college drama is produced? Of course the lighting, the set, the costumes, the makeup and the sound design were "immaculate." These pluses were not the "result of money well spent" at all. Rather, these designs probably came from the mature minds of the staff of the drama department. That is the way such a group works. The student actors cannot be faulted because they haven't yet achieved such maturity. So the "primary players" were "upstaged" by the "background players" in Mr. J's mind, although most audiences seem to "get" that there are no minor characters in Chekov. (Again, please refer to Miss Davidson's interview.)
Even the set did not entirely escape Mr. J's rapier-like pen. Is his imagination so static that he could not accept the set designer's wonderfully imaginative substitution of pilasters and capitals for the birch trees of the "first half" of the play? Where does Mr. J think the ancient Greeks found these architectural members in the first place, if not in forests? And how to square the "boredom," "disillusion" and "inactivity" found in all the characters by Mr. J, with the director's feeling for a great sense of destiny found in these same 19th century characters?
But then, how to square Mr. J out at all to do a job that Craig Smith had already done so sensitively and beautifully for The New Mexican?
Please continue to cover the oil and gas drilling in the Galisteo Basin [Cover story, Dec. 12: "Motherfrackers"] and please make the public aware there are sensitive and sacred cultural sites in the region which were recognized and included in the federal Galisteo Basin Initiative signed by the president, though including no funding. The Galisteo Basin archaeological resources are some of the most important in the Southwest and deserve respect, protection and sensitivity in order to keep them for future generations and to honor those sites and their integrity. Coverage and public awareness of this aspect of the drilling debate is important and yet seldom mentioned.
Thanks to the Reporter for your most excellent story on the Tecton play. While The New Mexican's reporting has been shamefully shallow, your reporters have done a Woodward and Bernstein job on this critical issue. Alire Garcia and Maass have done you proud and earned my renewed respect for the Reporter.
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